Pandemic and Recent Events Create New Challenges for Breast Cancer Patients; Progress Threatened

DALLAS – September 28, 2020 – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, is calling for this year’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to change from a month focused on awareness to a month of action in support of the nearly 280,000 women and men who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. this year alone, many who will likely be diagnosed with more advanced cancers and facing greater financial challenges due to the global pandemic.

Komen noted that after more than three decades of increased access to early detection and more effective treatments, mortality rates have decreased by 40 percent since 1989 – progress that is in jeopardy without the support of the breast cancer community to help those facing the disease today.

“Breast cancer is not cancelled,” said Paula Schneider, a breast cancer survivor and Komen’s CEO. “Yet due to the global coronavirus pandemic’s effect on health systems and the economy, more people than ever are encountering challenges in accessing and continuing needed care. Many are scared to get screened or see a doctor. Others have suddenly become uninsured and are facing new financial challenges. The pandemic has also highlighted tragic racial disparities that also exist with breast cancer, as Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from the disease than white women.”

Komen noted that prior to the pandemic, more than 42,000 women and men were expected to die this year from breast cancer in the U.S. alone. Without action, that number is likely to increase in the future. We don’t know the full impact of COVID-19 for breast cancer patients yet, but we do know we need to do more.

People need help to get to care, to stay in treatment, and to have access to accurate information. As breast cancer patients’ trusted partner, Komen provides support through services such as a free Breast Care Helpline, which provides emotional support in addition to guidance to national and local resources. Komen’s Treatment Assistance Program helps pay for expenses that may serve as a financial barrier to receiving the care patients need to live longer, better lives. And through a combination of research, community health programs and advocacy, Komen is working to save lives from breast cancer and ensure that where a person lives and what they look like doesn’t determine whether they live.

“In a single moment, a person’s life changes forever – there is life before breast cancer, and life after,” noted Schneider. “This October, as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will be asking people to take a moment to make a difference, by getting checked, making healthy choices, encouraging loved ones to take care of their breast health, or by supporting our work to save lives by making a generous donation. Together, we will save lives and get us closer to achieving a world without breast cancer.”


About Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen® is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide. We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information. Founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life, Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow’s cures. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at


Contact: Krista Park Berry

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